Been thinkin’ about…
…what’s over the next hill.
Five years ago this month, my mom passed away. She was too young. Only 69. It was the day after Independence Day and I believed my world had ended. My mother was my first teacher. My first mentor. My first best friend. For too many months following, I could only see darkness in my future.
Last week, I went back to Illinois and, with the help of my sisters, we went through our mom’s things. I returned to the Ozarks exhausted, with little of worldly value, but with things so imbued with memory they are priceless to me. Including a little ceramic chicken — whose head was once broken off and my mom taped him back together — who now appears to be crowing from a roost high in my kitchen.
It was important, melancholy, catharsis. A reminder of a life lived well. A call to live life, not in the past, but in the giving of each moment.
Fortunately, just prior to all this, I got to take my 14-year-old niece to Six Flags for nine hours of roller coaster riding in the early Ozark mountains of Eureka, Missouri. Yes, nine hours. Our last ride of the night, plunging at 60+ miles per hour into the rickety darkness, was on the venerable Screaming Eagle, built in red-white-and-blue, the traditional roller coaster way, back in 1976. Two years before I was born. I still remember the TV ads for it in the early ’80s.
Life is like that, often. Rickety-seeming. Exhilarating. Terrifying. Rough. And just over the next hill, we know not what. But it’s worth the ride, particularly when surrounded by those who care.
As always… thanks for readin’.
Joshua Heston, editor